By Mark Eisner: Canelo Alvarez will be chasing greatness tonight in his important battle against unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on DAZN PPV.
Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is taking the preliminary step that could lead to him becoming the undisputed champion at 175, but he’s got a tough fight on his hands against the undefeated Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs.
Boxing News 24 will be giving live updates & results below of tonight’s action from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Bivol being overlooked
“A lot of people are sleeping on Bivol’s talent and what he’s done. I think Dmitry is going to bring a lot of challenges for Canelo, but at the same time, Canelo is the pound-for-pound #1 star in the sport right now,” said Frank Smith of Matchroom to Boxing Social about tonight’s fight between Bivol and Canelo.
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“They’ve both got a lot of strengths. Dmitry needed this fight to get up. People that watched his last few fights, maybe they didn’t have the same buzz for him going into those fights,” Smith continued about Bivol.
“This is what he’s been waiting a long time for. I’d been talking to his manager Vadim and his team to make this fight and try and get it over the line. I’m glad we got it done because it’s a great fight.
“People are going to be shocked about the quality because a lot of people are writing Bivol off. Maybe because they don’t know enough about him. The joke is that Eddie [Hearn] is team Canelo, and I’m team Bivol.
“Bivol isn’t a big light heavyweight. Maybe it’s a bit late now, but maybe a year or two ago, he could have gone down to 168. I think the perspective was that Canelo, he wanted to go up.
“He’ll go in there with Dmitry Bivol at 175, and Bivol will put on any weight that he wants to put on because he wants the respect that he went in there and did it.
“Will there be a huge size difference? Canelo is a beast, and he’s a lump. Although not huge, he’s a lump. Bivol is looking quite slender from seeing him this week. I’ll be interesting to see Canelo,” said Smith.
Canelo believes he can do it
“We’ve seen him go up to 174 against Sergey Kovalev, and we saw what he did with him,” said Smith about Canelo. “He’ll be believing he can do the same thing again.
“It was great to deliver this opportunity to Dmitry Bivol because it’s a fight that we’ve been working on for a long time,” said Smith to Pro Boxing Fans.
“Bivol has wanted this fight for a long time. He’s never shied away from a challenge and wanted this opportunity. I think it’s a real tough fight. I think a lot of people are sleeping on Dmitry Bivol, mainly because they don’t know enough about him and what he’s done in the sport.
“He’s been waiting a long time for a fight of this magnitude and this size, and this is the type of thing that he needed to get up for it, really. I think he’s [Bivol] going to give him [Canelo] a really tough test, but we’ve seen how Canelo always finds a way [to win], doesn’t he?
“He’s great to watch, and he’s pound-for-pound #1 against Dmitry Bivol, the #1 175-pounder in the world. It’s been talked about [Canelo fighting Gennadiy Golovkin in September], but we’re fully focused on Saturday night because it’s a real tough test for Saul.
“A lot of people have been speaking about the Golovkin fight, and I’m sure if he gets through Saturday night, that’ll be the fight that we’re looking at.
“No, I think people in boxing know what Bivol brings,” said Frank when asked if it would be a major shock if Bivol defeats Canelo. “You know the talent Bivol has, and a lot of people here know the talent Bivol has.
“He’s the reigning champion at 175. He’s held onto his [WBA 175-lb] belt for four or five years, maybe? It would be a shock in terms of commercially. For a lot of fans tuning in, Canelo is the biggest star out there.
“He draws huge numbers. They won’t be expecting Canelo to lose this fight, but in terms of the hardcore boxing audience, I don’t think it would be a huge shock. He’s not the favorite, but I think he can give a good challenge,” said Smith about Bivol.
“He’s focused on his legacy. If he goes in here and becomes the light heavyweight champion, then I’m sure he’ll be looking to become undisputed at 175. Does he go up to 200 after that? He’s spoken about fighting Makabu. Then does he want to become undisputed up there? Then does he want to fight Usyk?
“He wants to take the biggest challenges. With him, it’s not just about money. If it was just about money, you could fight massive names that you steamroll time and time again. He wants to be remembered as a superstar and a legend that went in there and did what many others couldn’t,” said Frank about Canelo.